UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Bishop Daniel Visits St. Luke Parish in Warners, NY!
By Rev. Fr. Vasyl Sendeha
On Sunday, May 2, 2010 His Grace Bishop Daniel visited St. Luke Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Warners, NY. St. Luke’s parish community warmly welcomed this Spiritual Father of our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church for the first time as a hierarch of our Holy Church. He had visited the parish three times previously, but as a priest, prior to his consecration to the episcopacy.
The bright spring sunshine made our church’s golden domes, freshly sprinkled with a light rain, glisten brightly. The air was filled with fragrant aroma of blossoming apple trees, which are scattered over the parish property like magnificent candle flames of flickering white blossoms almost seemed to welcome the Bishop in their midst. Along with this wonderful aroma one could hear joyful chatter of the parish children, awaiting with great anticipation the arrival of Bishop Daniel. They were prepared with baskets full of rose petals to be cast in the path the Bishop would walk to the entrance of the church. When they spotted him they eagerly shrieked “Mayday! Mayday!” But it was an expression of joy, rather than the usual disaster the phrase is used to announce. It was the children’s way of saying, come and help us greet our beloved Bishop.
The Bishop’s path to the Church was covered with those rose petals thrown by the excited children. Bishop Daniel was greeted at the Church entrance with traditional bread and salt and warm words of welcome by our Parish Board President, Gregory Lisnyczyj; with flowers and kind words by Starosta, Oleksandr Dobyuk and Sisterhood representative, Irene Carman. He was further greeted by Parish Pastor, Fr. Vasyl Sendeha, who asked the bishop to lead the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, praying for all the faithful members and remembering the founders and benefactors or parish life. Subdeacon Vasyl Dovgan, a seminarian of St. Sophia Seminary in South Bound Brook, NJ, and two Subdeacons of our parish Oleksiy Dobyuk and Alex Carman assisted as altar servers during the Liturgy.
Following the Gospel reading about the Samaritan woman, Bishop Daniel preached his sermon. The faithful – even the children – carefully listened as their Spiritual Shepherd preached about living water, which Jesus Christ offered to the Samaritan woman at the Jacob’s well. With inspirational words of encouragement His Grace exhorted us to ponder upon the truth about that living water of Christ. He called us to fill ourselves with that living water – the spiritual teachings of our Lord to promote peace and tranquility in our community and to overcome all the tribulations of the parish community life.
The service flowed in both English and Ukrainian with the beautifully sung responses of our dedicated choir. It was a beautiful site to see the children come forth to the Bishop to receive the Holy Eucharist - some walked up on their own and others were carried by their parents to receive Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ from the Bishop himself who many of those children gazed upon with awe.
The whole community came to the Bishop for the veneration of the cross and gathered right outside the Church by the monument to the victims of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster. The memorial service was served by His Grace Bishop Daniel, assisted by Father Vasyl to commemorate 24th anniversary since the nuclear explosion.
The celebration continued in the parish hall where a lunch was held honoring Bishop Daniel and David Sendeha’s birthday. The bishop was also greeted with the upcoming second anniversary of His elevation to the Episcopacy in Our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The celebration, as one faithful community of Christ’s followers, under the guidance of His Grace Bishop Daniel was a joy filled one for everyone present in all of its aspects.